Regional Notebook: May 29, 2023

Published: 5/28/2023 10:55:57 AM

Modified: 5/28/2023 10:55:33 AM

Baystate Health revises mask policy

With the federal public health emergency having ended on May 11, Baystate Health has announced revisions to its mask policies.

Masks are now optional for visitors and staff in the inpatient care areas at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield and Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer, as well as at all medical practices and outpatient services.

However, the use of masks, other personal protective equipment and isolation precautions for patients with COVID-19 or other contagious diseases will not change. If a visitor self-screens positively for symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection in the past 10 days, they will not be allowed to enter the facility.

While masks are now optional, they will be available for visitors to use at their own discretion. Also, if patients prefer, they can request that caregivers wear a mask while delivering clinical care.

Farmers receive grants for planting, growing, harvesting, processing

The Local Farmers Awards distributed grants totaling $225,000 to 97 farms throughout western Massachusetts, which marks a 30% increase over the number of 2022 recipients. These grants of up to $2,500 each empower farmers to buy essential equipment for planting, growing, harvesting and processing. All projects include a funding commitment by the farm as well.

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation partners with Big Y and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, along with 12 other funders, to provide financial support for the Local Farmer Awards. Other community sponsors are Ann and Steve Davis, Charles and Elizabeth D’Amour, Audrey and Chick Taylor, PeoplesBank, DeNucci Group at Merrill Lynch, Farm Credit East, HP Hood, Eastern States Exposition, Baystate Health, Country Bank, Franklin First Federal Credit Union and bankESB.

This year, the Local Farmer Awards received a record 182 applications.

“We are so excited about the 97 farm winners,” Program Director Cari Carpenter said in a statement, “but our available funding did not allow us to support many additional requests for projects that are so needed on our local farms.”

Visit for more information, including a full list of recipients.

Sports medicine event set for June 14

HOLYOKE — Baystate Rehabilitation Care’s sports medicine physicians and other experts will provide a look at the latest care and injury prevention in sports medicine during “Keeping Your Athlete in the Game — The Sports Medicine Perspective.”

The free event will be presented on June 14, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Baystate Health Education Center, 361 Whitney Ave. in Holyoke.

Speakers include Dr. Julio Martinez-Silvestrini, medical director of Baystate Rehabilitation Care; Dr. Zachary Schepart of Baystate Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Dr. Christopher Keroack, sports nutrition and functional medicine specialist with the New England Center for Functional Medicine; Christian Ferrara, head of strength and conditioning at Western New England University; and Tim Murphy, supervisor with Baystate Rehabilitation Care.

Advance registration is required at

Local residents graduate from Bridgewater State

Four Franklin County students graduated from Bridgewater State University on Saturday, May 13. They are: Michael Aiken of Greenfield; and Peter Bronke, Kalen Evans and Ben Hamer, all of South Deerfield.

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